Pearl Maintenance 101: The Do’s & Don’t’s

Pearls are an organic gem and they require specific care that will protect them for a very long time. They can be harmed by contact with many chemicals found in household cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics and hair care products of all kinds.

Let’s start with “the don’ts” as it pertains to maintaining your pearls in great condition.

  • Never use toothbrushes, scouring pads or any type of abrasive material to clean your pearls.
  • Never use any “magic eraser” or other commercial cleaning pad, even those ‘safe for non-stick’ or otherwise presented as “gentle”.
  • Never clean your pearls with anything containing chlorine bleach, vinegar or ammonia (including Windex). All will harm pearls. Avoid anything other than water and soap (not detergent).
  • Never expose your pearls to dish or laundry detergents, bleaches, powered cleaners, or baking soda.
  • Never use any type of ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Never steam clean your pearls.
  • Never use tarnish remover or any type of jewelry cleaner advertised on TV as a miracle cleaner.
  • Never store your pearls in any type of plastic bag. Plastic can emit a chemical that will cause the surface of the pearl to deteriorate.
  • Never leave your pearls around a direct source of heat such as a fireplace mantle, on top of a television set, or stove.
  • Don’t wear pearls with Shetland wool, it can damage them.
  • Never store your pearls in a very dry room or in a safe deposit box for a long time. Your pearls need a little moisture like your skin so that they will not dry out!
  • Always remember that your Pearls should be the LAST THING YOU PUT ON when dressing and the FIRST THING YOU TAKE OFF when you get home.

  • Always store your pearls wrapped in a soft cloth or pouch and protected from all abrasive objects.
  • Always wipe your pearls with a soft cloth moistened with water.
  • If spills or drips get on your pearls (“oops” happens…), give them a good soak in lukewarm water with gentle natural soap (not detergent). Rinse well and allow to dry wrapped in a cotton cloth, then wear them to return some oils from your skin to the pearls. Remember, water doesn’t hurt pearls, they grew up in it!
  • Always remove your pearls if you reapply hair spray, or put on perfume with a sprayer: both can damage pearls.
  • Always remove pearls before exercising or otherwise getting sweaty. (It’s not the water or the salt, but the pH of sweat that is not good for them.)
  • Always remember that you are wearing a gift from the sea and the better you take care of them the longer they will maintain their warm glowing luster.
  • And last but not least: WEAR YOUR PEARLS. They don’t like being stored away and will improve in luster and glow when worn regularly!

If you’ve noticed separation between your pearls (on a necklace strand), this is an indication that they are probably ready to be re-strung. Re-stringing is an easy process, and helps add life to your pearl strand. It will also avoid the unfortunate occasion when a pearl strand breaks…and your pearls go flying across the room!!

Pearls are a such a versatile addition to any jewelry collection that can be worn dressed down or up. When worn & taken care of, they are a treasured heirloom that can be passed down…reflecting again Your Story. Set in Stone.

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